We may be a young practice, but already we win top design awards

Through design principal Hiromi Lauren’s skills, in June 2017, Shiro Architects’ first substantial completed project, the KDV Golf and Tennis Academy on Queensland’s Gold Coast, scored us “a hole in one” when it won the 2017 Queensland state award for commercial architecture.

It was first published here in the international online journal of architecture ArchDaily, and there is a link here to Hiromi’s first media interview, published since in the Australian Design Review.


We work on knowledge architecture that shapes knowledge workplace productivity

We want to design workplaces that make their occupants smarter and wealthier, and we are looking for partners to do this.

If they are to generate new revenues, many knowledge-age workplaces must now stimulate reliable knowledge and new intellectual property (IP) creation processes that result in distinctive, advanced, even transformative business models, processes, brands, products and services.

The established methods of workplace identification, negotiation and occupation probably won’t achieve this, so we are looking to a different horizon.

Using processes that get more effectively into the minds of those who will occupy them, our goal is to develop a distinctive, differentiated knowledge-age workplace, better suited to its occupants.

To achieve this, we are introducing into our mix knowledge editing, a proprietary design methodology of our own formulation, to uncover, articulate and direct the applicable intelligence, awareness and insight of those within a workplace towards achieving the knowledge productivity goals it holds.

Engaging workplace social technologies in the design of what must be done, knowledge editing makes workplace knowledge an editable resource that gives managers a tool with which to read and plan their organisation’s intelligence like a book or journal.

Focusing knowledge where it matters forges an entirely new form of workplace power. It is a process that enables managers to discern in whose minds their most productive knowledge assets can be found, and to shape their businesses around those individuals.

Once engaged, these people and their learning, knowledge creation and transmission activities then become the forces around which the future workplace can and must be configured. Yielding new metrics, this is necessarily likely to demand future workspaces of a very different variety.


Proprietary research shapes future workplace understanding

A non-architect, Shiro co-director Graham Lauren’s interest, research and understanding of state of the art organisational learning using the social technologies of the modern work environment drives our engagement in the knowledge workplace.

Published in Australian Facility Management magazine, a feature he wrote concerning his independent research on workplace strategy in the future Australian CBD workplace led in March 2017 to him chairing an expert panel entitled Meeting the Demands of the Evolving Workplace at the 2017 Total Facilities Conference at Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

His research to date proves that those getting smarter at workplace strategy take less and different kinds of space, and this trend will not decline.

Although key to future workplace strategy, focusing on the knowledge of the workplace is in larger measure a property-independent process. Its strategic focus lies upstream, more on the design of the work and foremost on the shape, thinking and design of the organisation itself (we describe this as its “knowledge architecture”), and not necessarily just on its premises.

In this view of future workplace strategy, a new accountability will be applied in the data used to judge “return on workplace.”

Companies getting a better handle on capturing and managing the knowledge they contain will be able to use these metrics to locate, right-size and reduce the cost of their working accommodation, optimising according to their workplaces’ knowledge and IP-creating potentials.

Well-formed workplace strategy makes explicit an entirely different focus for workspace design.


Workplace knowledge has a shape

Once you know what you are looking for, knowledge has a shape that must be accommodated and adjusted for as it grows and changes, and as organisations get better at knowing from where and from which of their contributors it is likely to come.

These are the changes to which future organisations must be extremely sensitive, and they lie at the core of successful future workplace strategy. Workplace strategy is knowledge architecture.

As the design of work itself changes in the hands of evolving casts of knowledge contributors, it will redefine the contours of the organisations that must deliver it. The workspaces in which knowledge-creation is contained and optimised must continue to adapt in step. This requires a clear and fluid, evolving understanding of the necessary match between organisation design and working environment.

Preparing for this future is no longer an if, it is a when, and the when is now. Contact Graham Lauren to find out more.


Spaces to feel good about

On the KDV Golf and Tennis Academy’s completion, we were given feedback that the project felt good independently by groups representing each of two prestigious visiting Queensland property developers. And we are now working for our client, KDV Sport, on its follow-up project, its student accommodation block, an environment that must follow this same rule.

Likewise, although we never set out specifically to design houses, around the time of the Queensland award, we were also invited to submit three of our as-yet unbuilt residences for possible inclusion in Australia’s most popular TV show on residential architecture, Grand Designs Australia.

Such accolades make us cautious but optimistic that somehow in some way we may be doing something right.

And even before that, when Shiro was just 18 months old, we were awarded acclaim for “design excellence” when invited to contest a limited-entrant, three-party, invitation-only competition on a landmark residential site in Parramatta, NSW, hosted by Parramatta City Council.


Young in years, rich in design pedigree

Despite its early achievement, Shiro Architects is still a young Sydney architecture and design practice.

Hiromi Lauren, née Shiraishi, is a former associate of just under 20 years at world-renowned architects, Harry Seidler and Associates, where she was considered one of Harry’s favourites.

She won Harry’s esteem not least, when working on North Apartments in Sydney’s Goulburn Street, she managed to design an extra unit into each of 11 of its 16 floors to secure the client an unexpected windfall of around $5 million on its investment.

It is a product of Hiromi’s Japanese architectural background that she is extremely skilled and disciplined in the design of tight, demanding spaces.

Delivering such a bonus to an unexpecting developer gave both Harry and the client something to feel good about.

Although we don’t always aim explicitly to deliver designs in the Japanese style, observers often comment they can see the influence of Japanese minimalism in Hiromi’s work.

In her Seidler years, she also worked closely with both Harry Seidler and Meriton owner Harry Triguboff on the design of the George Street, Sydney, Meriton Tower. On its Meriton Apartments web site, the company clearly felt good enough to give her contribution the plaudit in the sidebar to this page.

Besides making better use of their space, we aim always to deliver our clients beautiful, practical, commercially focused buildings.

And our work is now diversifying, with our design of the current KDV student accommodation building, taking us into spaces for both hospitality and education.

As our business and our workload grows, nothing changes.

Whatever their use, we exist to design work, commercial, hospitality and residential spaces to feel good about.